I am choosing to become a mom on my own, and this is an enormous project that, like any enormous project, can only really be done in tiny steps. Baby steps. Every day, I have maybe one step to take. Later on, there may be several, or it may feel like all the steps need to be taken at once, or like stepping has turned into a big exhausted tangle. But that’s when someone will remind me to check back in with the Buddha who brings me back to the present. The path IS the goal, yo.
What led up to this decision?
When my last serious relationship ended last fall, I signed up the next day to become a member of Single Mothers by Choice (SMC) and began hatching my plan to become pregnant on my own. I had been so impatient for so long. This was the most recent of a series of relationships where my desire to be a mom had become a liability. The clock was ticking so loudly I could barely make it past the first date without verbal confirmation that he wanted kids “someday.” My ears were spectacularly calibrated to pick up even mumbled/drunk references to the possible future existence of his/our kids and/or any reference to settling down of any kind: saving money, buying a house, launching a business. I could piece together the future that I wanted for us (i.e. a family) based on these casual throwaway comments, and find out later, in the throes of the breakup, that he “wasn’t even thinking about that stuff.”
The natural timeline of a relationship (for all of its better/worse elements) was ultimately usurped by my own body’s natural timeline and my body won but not without a lot of hardship–in those last few months of the relationship, I was barely sleeping, had nonstop anxiety, and, finally, depression. I was not on the right path, at all.
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been “baby crazy” in the sense of crying during baby commercials or hating all my friends with babies or going ballistic if there’s a baby in the room and I’m not holding it. Baby crazy in kind of a rational way. The fact is that women do not remain fertile forever. Technology has allowed women to get pregnant later and later but that’s no easy road no matter what the celebrity magazines report. My ex said plaintively, “Can’t you just keep running marathons?” Well, no, honey. That’s just ignorant.
My therapist has gently checked in with me about once a year for the last few years on pursuing the solo mom track: are you ready now to maybe begin researching what this would entail to do it on your own? And every year I considered and it with some distaste; it just sounded wrong. I wasn’t ready, wanted to keep looking, give the search for a partner a little more time.
This time, I was ready. In fact, I was sneaking browsing sessions on the SMC site even before the breakup, as if I were cheating or looking at porn. I gave myself until the end of the year to finalize the decision, started meeting SMCs. researching sperm banks, looking at my insurance and finances. At the very end of the year, I took a solo trip to the Grand Canyon to have a heart-to-heart with the universe. We shook on it.
And where am I today?
Fast forward through starting up prenatal vitamins, getting checkups, going off all meds (including Paxil), getting set up with the sperm bank, and one missed cycle in March, and I have now had my first IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination). I am 6 days in! There is either the most joyful, magical, miraculous thing taking place in my body, or not. The wait is 2 weeks before a home preg test would show conclusive results, and I’m doing well with the uncertainty so far.
In these months of planning, I have absolutely re-found my path. After all my struggles with insomnia last summer, I am now sleeping impeccably. I feel the full landscape of possible emotions and I use the tools at my disposal when they get overwhelming. One will be this blog, so please forgive me in advance for TMI and overdone venting.
Katie Crouch, thesolomamaproject.com/